Costly park bench nap
Nappers can be fined $200 for misuse of park facility.
The National Parks Board (NParks) fined the private bus driver for having misused the park facility by sleeping on the bench. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
WHAT was supposed to be a free 15-minute nap on a park bench turned into a costly snooze for one Singaporean.
The New Paper on Tuesday reported that a 62-year-old, who only wanted to be known as Mr Kassim, was fined $200 when he dozed off on a Sun Plaza Park bench while taking shelter from the rain.
The National Parks Board (NParks) fined the private bus driver for having misused the park facility by sleeping on the bench.
The incident happened on Sept 1 at a park in Tampines.
Mr Kassim had dozed off on one of the wooden benches while seeking shelter from a heavy downpour. He woke up about 15 minutes later to see two men, who would later identify themselves as NParks rangers, walking towards him.
They asked for his identity card, told him he had 'abused park facilities by sleeping on the park bench', and issued him a ticket.
Mr Kassim accepted the ticket despite not knowing it was an offence to sleep on a park bench.
Five days later, he received an NParks letter detailing his offence and asking him to pay the $200 fine. When he went to the NParks office to make payment, he claimed he was told by a staff member that he could appeal.
But he decided against it, citing it would be a hassle.
According to an NParks spokesman, more than 10 people have been fined for misusing the facilities in the parks. The spokesman did not say if these specifically involved sleeping on park benches.
He told TNP: 'We try to create the conditions that make visitors feel at ease... When people abuse our parks by overstaying or squatting, they make genuine park users feel uncomfortable. Others sleep on benches or in shelters in an inconsiderate manner and deny park users from these facilities.'
Of eight regular park-goers surveyed by The New Paper, none knew that sleeping on park benches was an offence.
On the NParks website, there is a list of 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' for visiting parks. Sleeping on a park bench was not among the 'Don'ts', but there was a disclaimer which said the list was 'not exhaustive or intended to be a complete list of the prohibitions or regulations governing our parks'.
About the Author: Shingo T sniggles with delight at the possibility that his neighbour who hangs her clothes and hanging poles at the neighbourhood park will be fined for park abuse.